Despite numerous positive outcomes that it promises, the concept of globalization as the basis for multicultural communication and learning is not fully devoid of certain controversial issues. The lack of control over the influence that some cultures will have on others and, particularly, the impact that dominant cultures can have on subordinate ones being the primary area of concern. The phenomenon is known as identity politics.
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Thus, it can be considered a response to the threat of subordinate cultures being marginalized by the dominant ones. Seeing that it is crucial to both encourage multicultural communication and help states preserve their national identity, the phenomenon of identity politics should be viewed as the means of connecting people while keeping their uniqueness intact instead of using identity politics as the tool for alienating cultures.
According to Eriksen (102), the concept of identity politics is anachronistic in its nature since it sets people back in their political and social development. While some elements of identity politics as the method of retaining the traditional values that are alien to the current multicultural society might seem as wrong and even absurd to the global community, it can be used as a tool or negotiation and, thus, a search for a compromise between the policies that are generally accepted in a particular society and those that are viewed as a norm in the global community. In other words, identity politics can become the foundation for starting a dialogue between the members of a particular culture and the representatives of the global community to develop a viable solution.
Put differently; identity politics should not be viewed either as an entirely xenophobic idea or, on the contrary, the ultimate solution to the issues associated with the discrepancies between the polities of certain states and the ones of the global society. Instead, it needs to be recognized as a neutral tool that can be used for either purpose. By reinforcing the positive effects that the phenomenon of identity policy can bring, one will be able not only to enhance the communication process between the participants but also to reduce the levels of xenophobia by enhancing the impact of values such as tolerance.
Furthermore, by using identity politics as the means of promoting a cross-cultural dialogue, one will be able to reduce the effects of prejudices by subverting some of the most harmful stereotypes (Eriksen 103).
The use of identity politics should be viewed as a necessity in the cases that involve acculturation of immigrants. For the latter to adopt toward the new environment and at the same time retain their cultural identity, it is imperative for the state policies to incorporate the elements that will help immigrants feel less alienated from the rest of the society. As a result, a significant drop in the number of cross-cultural conflicts is expected.
In addition, the use of the identity politics serves as a powerful tool for a seamless transition from one set of cultural and political values to another, at the same time, retaining the elements of national identity that will help people preserve their culture and even further its development. Indeed, without new influences and ideas, any culture will inevitably become stale and out-of-date, whereas the impact of innovative ideas will ultimately contribute to significant progress. Therefore, identity politics should be regarded as the tool for helping the representatives of specific cultures to become active members of the global community by recognizing the global system of values yet keeping the unique characteristics of their culture.
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Eriksen, Thomas Hylland. “Re-embedding Identity Politics as a Response to Globalization.” Sociology of Globalization, edited by Keri E. Iyall Smith, Westview Press, 2013, pp. 99-105.